Thursday, November 08, 2012
What is a Power of Attorney & Who Needs One?
November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. At the Law Office of Julie Low, we often get calls from people who haven’t done any estate planning and now find themselves in a crisis situation with regards to a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease. If you become sick or disabled, either temporarily or permanently, who will make financial decisions for you? A Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone you trust to do just that. If you cannot pay bills, get records or make other financial decisions due to physical or mental limitations, your family may be prevented from helping you. Arranging for a Power of Attorney now can save the $4000-$5000 in legal fees that a conservatorship or guardianship process can cost. To learn more about Power of Attorney and other important estate planning documents, please attend one of our educational workshops. Dates, times and further information are available here. Or log on to www.lawofficeofjulielow.com and click on Seminars. To learn more about National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, click here!
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Autumn Begins September 22!
Kids going back to school, apple picking, hay rides, cider donuts, football, estate planning and fall foliage. One of these things is not like the other! If you guessed estate planning, you’re right! However, what you may not realize is that autumn is a great time to start thinking about what you can do to protect your family in the case of an untimely and potentially devastating event. Having your affairs in order is a labor of love. Call the Law Office of Julie Low today at 978-922-8800 and ask us about our free estate planning workshops coming up in October and how to arrange for a free one-hour consultation. It’s the first step in creating peace of mind for you and your family.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Julie Low to Speak at Sunrise Senior Living in Lynnfield!
It’s Sunrise Spirit Week at Sunrise Senior Living in Lynnfield. They are celebrating their community activities that are designed to enrich the mind, body and spirit. They are offering tours of their community, so you can see how their residents truly experience the joy of every day. And one of their activities this week features our very own, Attorney Julie Low!
On Saturday, September 15 from 2:00–3:30 p.m., Attorney Julie Low of the Law Office of Julie Low and Michael Murray, a Financial Planner at Peabody Financial Services are holding a joint seminar entitled: Affording Senior Living Options . They will speak on estate planning & the financial options that make assisted living & other long term care options possible. RSVP today for this free event by calling (781) 245-0668 or email: Lynnfield.DCR2@SunriseSeniorLiving.com.
Sunrise Senior Living is located at 55 Salem Street, Lynnfield, MA.
Monday, June 04, 2012
June 6th Seminar No longer available!
Notice: Our Thursday, June 7th workshop is no longer available! If you would like to attend one of our upcoming seminars, please let us know by sending us an email to: Contactus@lawofficeofjulielow.com and we can keep you in the loop for other upcoming events.
Our Saturday, June 23rd event is still open for registration, so if you or someone you know is interested, let us know or register on our Seminars page!
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Caregiver Agreements in Current Events
The New York Times published an article earlier this month featuring an artist who acted as the primary caregiver for her developmentally disabled sister. After their mother quickly and unexpectedly passed due to pancreatic cancer, Beverly McIver began to look after and live with her older sister. This story is captured in the documentary, Raising Renee, which delves into the ups and downs of a sibling caregiver arrangement. A 10-minute segment on the radio program "The Take Away," featured on WGBH, speaks with Beverly McIver and the filmmakers to provide an empathetic view of a caregiver situation, and the impact it has on the lives involved. Even though the basis of such an arrangement is an extraordinary amount of love, it is not to say that living with it is easy.
If you are planning for a child with special needs, it is important to consider what will happen when you pass. Who will take care of your child? How can you provide for your child's wellbeing? Where will they be able to stay? What happens if your appointed caregiver or Trustee can't handle the situation? What would you do if a loved one asked such a great responsibility of you?
You shouldn't feel trapped by these questions. Use your uncertainties to guide an open discussion with whomever you are thinking of naming to provide care for your child. A Special Needs Planning attorney can help guide your discussions with your loved ones, and provide support during the difficult decisions and conversations. Oftentimes, attorneys act as co-trustees for Supplemental Needs Trusts, working closely with a family member to ensure that the emotional and logistical support is in place for the individual throughout their lifetime. Creating a partnership for the sole-benefit of your loved one is an excellent way to give yourself peace of mind, and one that can begin with a simple conversation with a Special Needs attorney. If you think that you or a loved one may benefit from Special Needs Planning, take the first step towards a better life; contact an attorney who is dedicated to finding the best possible solutions for you.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Quiz: Can my loved one stay at home alone safely?
1-18-12- Quiz: Can my loved one stay home alone safely?
Though it can be emotionally difficult, it is important to assess whether your aging parent has reached a point where they are not safe to be home alone. A Geriatric Care Manager can make this process easier for you, and may provide a variety of solutions to keep your loved one independent as long as possible. If you feel your loved one is no longer safe alone, take action immediately, and call an Elder Law Attorney and/or certified Geriatric Care Manager. Use these professionals as a network of experts in order to obtain the best care possible for your loved one.
Some questions to guide your discussion:
Quiz- Can My Loved One Stay at Home Alone?
True or False
My loved one is able to safely prepare nutritious meals.
My loved one eats and drinks well without supervision.
My loved one is steady on his or her feet.
My loved one is able to get in and out of the shower or tub safely.
My loved one keeps himself or herself clean.
My loved one can get dressed without assistance.
My loved one can get to the bathroom as necessary.
My loved one has interests and friends to keep life interesting.
My loved one is cautious with the stove, candles, irons, and other sources of heat.
My loved one is not likely to fall asleep while smoking.
My loved one does not have to navigate stairs, or if he or she does, it can be done safely.
My loved one can call someone if the need arises who can be there within a short time.
My loved one has access to transportation to the grocery store, pharmacy, doctor and dentist appointments, and social occasions.
I feel at ease during the day and sleep well at night knowing that my loved one is home alone.
As you answer each question, consider their impact on the overall health and wellbeing of your loved one. The more questions answered "False" indicates a higher probability that your loved one needs extra care and supervision. For some, an Adult Day Care Program will be sufficient, but others may need professional care provided by an Assisted Living Facility or Nursing Home. If you have concerns, reach out to an Elder Care professional. You do not need to go through this alone!
Content gathered from <http://public.findlaw.com/elder/le25_8quiz.html>
Thursday, January 12, 2012
What does the MUPC mean for you?
Massachusetts finally has an entire new set of probate laws after twenty years of debate. The Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (MUPC) was signed into law on January 15, 2009 and is intended to bring significant changes to the probate process and important reforms to probate procedure. The MUPC was supposed to go into effect on January 2, 2012, but has recently been pushed back to March 31, 2012 to allow the legislature to make technical amendments and to help the court system, which is currently understaffed, prepare and make way for the myriad of changes the new Probate Laws will have on the courts’ administrative processes and forms.
The MUPC improves the process for administering probate. Probate is the process of gathering a deceased person's assets, paying all their debts and taxes, and distributing remaining property pursuant to the instructions left in the decedent's will. The changes would allow for a streamlined probate administration process, saving lawyer's time and ultimately saving money for the family of the decedent. Additionally, citizens will be able to choose how much judicial oversight they want during probate administration; simple, uncontested estates will be able to complete the process fairly quickly, and even as estates become more complicated, the families can choose the level of control they want to give to the courts.
If you or someone you know is the executor of an estate, or is a named "personal representative" in a will, it is best to seek the assistance of an attorney during this transition period-- even the courts need more time to prepare for the switch to the new MUPC.
For more information, the two following Massachusetts Lawyers Journal articles provide a general overview of the changes. Please be advised, they are, unfortunately, written by lawyers, for lawyers.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
When Long Term Care Becomes End of Life Care
Because we work in both Estate Planning and Elder Law, we often encourage our clients to contemplate possibilities about the end of their life. These conversations are not always enjoyable, but are an essential part of the planning process, and can help create a clear path for your loved ones to follow when the need arises.
This difficulty was discussed during a recent series on End of Life issues, on NPR series Tell Me More. Karyne Jones from the National Caucus and Center on Black Aged summarized this difficult but essential preparation saying, "… I think it's something that people just need to be aware of and start really deciding-- at the end of my life, whenever that may be, because you don't know when it is-- this is what I want to happen." Though starting these conversations with your loved ones will be difficult, it is absolutely necessary to speak with your family about your wishes.
This radio series delved into topics deeply intertwined with Estate Planning and Elder Law. These shows spoke with individuals who were at the heart of difficult matters, like the price of long-term care and the difficulties of looking after an dying parent. Though our clients may not find themselves in these situations currently, we do feel that these stories will resonate nonetheless.
Planning End of Life Care doesn't only mean sorting out the details of where or when, but looking at the bigger picture to make sure that your desires are being met, and your wishes respected. As with most things in life, it is not the destination, but the journey that matters. We are all aware of the inevitable, but how do you want to get there? Through proper planning and vocalizing your desires surrounding possible "if-then" scenarios, your family will have a clearer picture of how you want end of life care. This process may involve creating a Supplemental Needs Trust, or a Medicare Asset Protection Trust to protect your home from state liens, or may involve recording your wishes through a Will- based Estate plan. Any or all of these may be strategies that could provide you and your family with extra peace of mind and guidance during a difficult time. For more information about these and other End of Life strategies, please ask us a question on our Facebook page, send us an email, or call us at 978-922-8800.
The transcripts to the Tell me More series can be found at the following links:
"Financial Planning for the End of Life"
"Soaring Prices, Sinking Resources"
"Guidance on Caring for Aging Parents"
"Advice for the Golden Years- Don't Ever Retire Mentally"
"Trusting Faith Learning Lessons in Golden Years"
Monday, September 12, 2011
Estate Planning for the Seasons
Labor Day has already passed, and whether we like it or not, we are reminded of Fall. Sweaters, Pumpkin flavored goodies, leaves changing, and of course, winter. In Fall, the world around us is changing-- it starts to harden, to yawn with brilliant crimsons and golds, and then turns over to sleep until better weather comes around again. If nature thinks this is the best way to do things, then maybe we should pay attention to that cycle of change, and try to apply it to our own lives.
Spring: It is undoubtedly a part of life for each of us to feel invulnerable in youth. We are young, we are growing, we are learning, experiencing, thriving, living. Everything is happening to us, and we can practically feel the world turning around us. But then, we open our eyes, and look at the world hurtling by, and realize that we are spinning alone, as fast as we can.
Summer: After the nausea passes, we build a life that we can work with, and start to focus on the big picture. The people in our lives become the foundation for how we spend our time, and in a lot of ways, influence what we do. We create our own families, have children, foster the unlikeliest of friendships, and make our own world a more beautiful place. This is the time of blue skies, birds chirping, warm sun, pleasant breezes, fluffy clouds, sand, surf, laughter, and the occasional drenching storm. And whether we realize it or not, planning for a fun summer picnic can become practice for Estate Planning . We start asking ourselves: "What are we going to eat?"; "Where are we going to go?"; "What about Jenny's allergies-- did you pack her Epi-pen?"; "What if it rains?"; "Did we bring some toys for the kids?". These questions are much in the same vein as ones at an Estate Planning design meeting. Even though this thought process is something we may go through daily, some who begin to think about this may feel their Estate isn't "big" enough to make Estate Planning "worth it" during the summer; they continue to save for the rainy day, and feel the sunshine on their faces.
Fall: As the air turns more crisp, we put on more layers, and bundle up our loved ones for the more temperamental weather. In all aspects of life, we start thinking about the harsh weather and hard times ahead, and start making preparations. For many of us, the heart of fall is in the leaves falling off the trees, and in the cold breeze that is quickly turning into a strong wind. Surely at this point, we can no longer ignore the arrival of fall, and the eminent arrival of winter. We close our house windows, start making stews, casseroles, and start planning for the holidays. Just as with picnic planning, we must reflect on the needs of our loved ones, and try to provide for them the best that we can.
Winter: The hardship. The cold that cracks hands, stings skin, and stills life. The winter is the anticipated unexpected. It is the season of constant surprise, and wearying repetition. But, it is also a season of quiet nights blanketed in thick snow. And warm fires that bring together the family from peripheral rooms of the house. It is the season of hot cocoa, helping neighbors shovel the record snow, and softly glowing holiday lights lining the heart of town. Bundled up against the cold, winter seems manageable, and sometimes even pleasant. And even for those who may have misplaced their winter jacket, worn out their old gloves, or need a snowsuit for their newest grandchild, the stores are still open and able to help. Estate Planning is available at any time to help anyone protect the ones they love and whatever they may have against the bitterness of winter.
As we transition from the comfort of a well-known and loved season, it is essential to remember the importance of planning for the changes ahead of us; proper Estate Planning can help you protect your assets from taxes, provide for any special needs situation, and give you peace of mind. Remember, you never have to freeze in winter-- it is never too late begin Estate Planning!
Picture generously shared by Jim Crotty under a Creative Commons license. "Autumn Colors on Lake Logan in Hocking Hills Ohio by Jim Crotty" http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimcrotty/5107844796/
The Law Office of Julie Low, PLLC assists clients with Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, Advanced Estate Planning, Asset Protection, Special Needs Planning, Business Succession Planning, Pet Trusts, Probate and Estate Administration, Elder Law, Medicaid Planning and Veteran Benefits in Beverly, MA and throughout the North Shore including Salem, Wenham, Danvers, Peabody, Marblehead, Hamilton, South Hamilton, Manchester, Swampscott, Lynn, Topsfield, Essex, Middleton, Lynnfield, Ipswich, Saugus, Nahant, Malden, Everett, Gloucester, Medford, Melrose, Reading, North Reading, Rockport, Stoneham, Wakefield, Newbury, Newburyport, Rowley, Amesbury, Boxford, Andover, North Andover, Georgetown, Byfield, Groveland, Haverhill, Lawrence and Boston in Essex County, Suffolk County and Middlesex County